The Morning Routine that Helped Me Discover My Purpose

BY Stephanie Halligan        April 14, 2015

“Steph, you were born to draw.”

Ask all of my family and friends what I’m born to do, and it’s virtually unanimous: I was meant to draw. Since I could walk, I’ve been a cartoonist. It’s my gift, and everyone in my life can see it.

Yet despite having an “obvious” gift, I spent almost 16 years of my life burying that gift away. It wasn’t until this past year and one very important morning routine that helped me reclaim that gift. And through it discover my higher purpose in life.

As a child, I was wildly creative and expressive, cartooning my way through childhood with aspirations to one day become a professional animator. But those dreams dissolved as a teenager. In high school, I quickly decided that no one made a living doing art and no one looked “successful” dedicating their life to what they loved. And so, I headed to college to pursue more practical, lucrative lines of work. I hopped between majors, searching for a career path that gave me both purpose and a great paycheck (I never found it). And as I struggled to find a new career identity, my art atrophied. My cartoons completely receded into the background. A few weeks would go by without a single doodle. I spent the early years of my working life in the same confused haze, wondering why the steady, stable career ladder that I’d started to climb didn’t feel right. By that point, my art had completely disappeared. There was a stretch of two years when I didn’t draw a single cartoon.

I’d reached a point in my life where everything on paper looked right but nothing felt right. It was my breaking point.

And so I blew it all up.

I quit my job, ended my 5-year relationship, and moved out of my apartment. I started the important work of rebuilding my life from the ground up. And I was determined to build it from a foundation of happiness.

In those early moments after I’d cleared away the debris of unhappiness in my life, I could hear the soft whisper of a voice inside that had been silenced for years: the inner child that had been waiting to come out.

“Let’s draw.”

It had been buried so deep that I almost forgot it was there. But there it was: my gift. And now that I could hear that voice again, I promised myself that I would do everything I could to protect and honor it. My happiness depended on it.

And so I made myself a promise: every morning, I would draw. Before working on anything else, I would do the work that made me happy. I wouldn’t wait for inspiration. I would just draw. I would exercise my gift, no matter what came out.

The first few weeks were hard. I came up with every excuse to avoid doing it in the morning. But I knew I was just getting back into shape, so I sat myself down and drew every single morning. Every day.

And as I exercised my gift every morning, a very slow but very measurable shift happened. My work became a conduit for something much bigger.

When I sat down to draw, I was feeding my soul. And as my soul grew and evolved, my cartoons evolved with it. It became this magical cycle and soon I found myself tapping into a power much greater than myself.

I was on a journey of seeking happiness and cultivating it every day in my life, and my cartoons began reflecting that journey. My art transformed into a vehicle that I could properly share my spiritual evolution with the world. And began attracting other souls on a similar journey looking for help, thanking me for my art.

And after months and months of practicing my gift every day and living in this cycle of feeding and expanding my soul, it struck me. I had a moment of such intense clarity that I couldn’t help but cry.

My purpose.

Here I was on a journey to find and cultivate happiness. And here I was helping others on their own path by sharing my journey through my own words and my unique and divine gift: art.

This was my purpose. This was the way I could serve myself and serve others. And it took the daily practice and deep honoring of my gift to reveal it. I had to do the work to honor my gift before I could clearly see my sacred contract.

And here it is. And here I am, ready to fulfill it. I was born to do it, after all.

We all have unique, divine gifts. These gifts are the tools that let us dig deeply into our souls to search for something bigger. And when you dig deeper, you uncover what you were meant to do and how you were meant to serve.

Our divine duty is to exercise our gifts every day. And when we do, the heavens can’t help but smile upon us and reward us with the greatest gift of all: the clarity of who we are and how we’re meant to serve.

 

 

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Stephanie Halligan

Stephanie Halligan is a motivational cartoonist and the founder of ArtToSelf.com, a daily art affirmation newsletter. She’s on a daily quest to cultivate inspiration and self-compassion. You can join her on her journey and get her inspiring cartoons and notes delivered everyday at ArtToSelf.com.

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